Wheat Enriched Bleached Flour
REFINED FLOUR More than 90% of the wheat flour we eat is white, or refined, flour, which consists of only the ground endosperm of the wheat kernel. White flour is popular because it produces lighter baked goods than whole wheat flour and has an unequaled ability to produce gluten. When the bran and germ are removed from the wheat kernel, 22 vitamins and minerals are decreased, along with dietary fiber. Therefore, 35 states require that white flour be enriched with iron and the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. Some manufacturers add calcium and vitamin D as well. If a flour has been enriched, the label will say so. There are many types of white flours: All-purpose flour: Also known as family, plain, white, or general-purpose flour, this flour is made from a blend of hard and soft wheats. It has a "middle of the road" protein and starch content that makes it suitable for either breads or cakes and pastries. It can be either bleached or unbleached. All-purpose flour also is available presifted--that is, milled to a finer texture. This aerates the flour to make it lighter than standard all-purpose flour. However, all flour, whether labeled presifted or not, has a tendency to settle and become more compact in storage, so the benefit of presifting isn't always apparent. Bleached flour: When freshly milled, flour is slightly yellow. To whiten it, manufacturers either let the flour age naturally or speed up the process by adding chemicals (such as benzoyl peroxide or acetone peroxide) that bleach it. This process gives the flour more gluten-producing potential, but naturally aged flours develop more gluten as well.